Man busted with loaded gun in busy shopping centre
EXCLUSIVE: A convicted robber busted carrying a loaded handgun in a shopping centre told police he stumbled on the firearm and a tobacco pouch full of ammunition lying in parkland.
Kane Charles Bell said he tried unsuccessfully to shoot the gun, found in a plastic bag, before he stashed it in his backpack.
Police officers on foot at Mount Pleasant Centre approached Bell that day about outstanding traffic matters and Bell announced he had the gun.
Bell told them he hadn't reported finding the weapon and planned to hand the gun over to his mum.
The 23-year-old Andergrove man faced Mackay Magistrates Court for sentencing on Tuesday via videolink from prison.
Bell pleaded guilty to unlawfully possessing a shortened handgun in public on November 3 last year - an offence which carries a minimum penalty of a year in jail, and a maximum of seven years.
Prosecutor Shelby Larcombe told the court Bell had been handcuffed, officers sighted the gun and called for assistance about 12.30pm.
" ... during this time a forensics examination was conducted and identified the handgun had one round in the barrel and an additional five rounds in the magazine attached to the gun. Police further located another 38 rounds in a clip-seal bag. All items were seized," she said.
Bell told police he had left the shopping centre to visit a friend in Whistler Way, Mount Pleasant, and "located a plastic bag", opening it and finding "a handgun and tobacco pouch full of bullets".
"The defendant has subsequently pulled the trigger of the gun and nothing happened," Ms Larcombe said, adding Bell gave no reason why he didn't immediately report the find.
But Bell cut in to tell Magistrate Damien Dwyer he "didn't have a phone" at the time.
Mr Dwyer halted proceedings and adjourned to give the prosecution and defence more time to prepare for sentencing on the "very serious offence".